There has been a great deal of talk this week about UConn senior Kelly Faris and her chances of earning All-American honors this season. It was a natural conversation piece after she took apart No. 4 Duke on national television Monday by generating 18 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals.
You will have to forgive her if she does not jump up and down in excitement that she is a subject of this conversation. She won’t be handing out “Faris For All-American’’ bumper stickers either. That is hardly the person she is.
“Honestly, I don’t really care,’’ Faris said. “That stuff doesn’t really faze me a whole lot. It’s not what I came here to do. I didn’t come here so that my name would be recognized or that I would be recognized. I came here because this is the best program out there, I thought, and I wanted to become the best player I could possibly be and I wanted to become better and better. And I felt like that was what I was going to get if I came here. So for all that stuff it honestly doesn’t really matter to me.
“That’s not my focus. My focus isn’t about the accolades outside of winning a national championship. The individual stuff … Yeah, it’s great and there’s people that are deserving of it. But is it in the back of my mind that that’s what I want? No. I come here and I try to do what Coach asks me to do and what the team needs.’’
Here is what you need to know about Faris and what makes her tick. As she hashed over UConn’s 79-49 rout of Duke, two of the main things that stood out to her were the three turnovers she committed and the dramatic difference in the two halves for the Huskies.
“(The turnovers were) the one thing that made me mad about the whole thing,’’ Faris said. “But, at the same time, yeah, it was so much fun and that’s was the most fun I’ve had all year and I think everybody on the team can say that. But the problem is when you sit there and think about it it’s like, `Well, what happened in the first half?’ And that’s kind of been our problem all year. We play one good half, one bad half.
“So it was good to think about all the fun things that happened and all that stuff. But, at the same time you’re sitting there, `OK, now I’m focused on trying to figure out how I can bring that to practice every day and keep it at that level’ so that we’re practicing what we’re going to be like in the game. And so it’s not easy because you just want to bundle it up in a jar and then like drink it before practice and we’re good to go. But it’s not that easy. So that was kind of what I thought about a lot is how we’re going to be able to sustain that the rest for the year.’’
Here are Faris’ thoughts on being a leader on this team …
“Being a leader of this team … This is my chance and I’ve kind of been a part of it in different ways the last three years,’’ Faris said. “And being my last chance I’m trying to make the most of it. But at the same time we talk about this that it’s not just me. I’m not going to do certain things that other people in their leadership role are going to do. So it’s going to be a collective effort and that’s what it’s been throughout the whole season. So far I think it’s worked out pretty well and I think we’re going to continue to build on it and continue to hold people more accountable than what we’ve been doing because if we let it drop off now there’s kind of no turning back. So, yeah, I do take a lot of pride in it. But, at the same time, it’s not just me.’’